The tobacco industry should be excluded and not be recognized as a stakeholder at any level or stage of health including the COVID- 19 pandemic and social policy development.
Clear communication and disclosure should be made to clarify the motivations funding of research institutions, academics, and scientific studies to prevent unseen biases in science on which policy may be based. This should also be applied to nongovernmental organizations, business and trade associations, consumer groups, think tanks, professional associations and others seeking involvement or input in tobacco control policies.
Countries in the region that have not ratified the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products should do so as soon as possible to protect their tobacco control efforts from interference by the tobacco industry.
Efforts should be made to increase awareness raising among all sectors of government on the obligation to protect tobacco control policies and what they can do to counteract industry interference.
All actions, communications and interactions between the government and the industry should be transparent.
Countries in the African region should adopt a code of conduct that protects officials from industry influence and limits interactions to only when strictly necessary. Alternatively, countries should strengthen their tobacco control law with a provision on Article 5.3 as Uganda and Botswana have done.
Government should get more committed and engaged to stop tobacco industry interference. In Kenya, for example, it is recommended that action be taken on tobacco industry players and public officials who continue to flout the provisions protected tobacco control policies from tobacco industry interference (Part V of Tobacco Control Regulations (TCR) 2014, Tobacco Control Act 2007 and Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC).